This is a post I wrote for my study skills course. The prompt was:
Share your thoughts and experiences concerning discrimination and stereotyping. If you wish, describe an incident in which you were discriminated against or stereotyped by some other individual or group. Or describe a time when you witnessed this happen to someone else. Discuss how the situation might have been handled differently to respect and embrace diversity
My thoughts on discrimination are many. I would like to say that we shouldn’t discriminate, but the reality is that we all do it everyday. How many of us check to make sure our doors are locked while driving through “that part” of town. And “that part” is the same in every city. It’s the place where poor blacks live. Why? Because when you watch a show like cops, or really just about any sort of law enforcement show, these areas of town are perceived as being full of drug dealers and gang members. And you know what? Sometimes, they are. But certainly not all the time. So why do we discriminate? Simple, survival. I mean, if you owned a BMW, would you rather park it in “that part” of town or in the white upper class neighborhood?
Clearly, everyone discriminates. I mean, a girl can’t use a boy’s bathroom, that’s sexism. Yet, we accept that form of discrimination.
It isn’t fair to say “Don’t discriminate.” There is nothing wrong with discriminating. It is defined as “recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.” Discrimination is only bad when it negatively affects those involved. That means that having separate bathrooms for boys and girls is fine, but having separate bathrooms for whites and coloreds is not.
Personally, I haven’t been around much flagrant displays of discrimination. I can not recall a single instance where I felt as though I, or someone around me was being discriminated against in a negative way. I have, however, been to restaurants with Hispanic servers. So, I, not wanting to discriminate, place my order in English, only for them to tell me once I’m done that they didn’t understand a single word I said. Had I gone by stereotyping in those situations I would have placed my order in Spanish and have been on my way.
My point is that while respect is paramount, discrimination is not inherently wrong.